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Five face execution over assassination of Saudi journalist

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Jamal Khashoggi: The journalist and dissident was murdered in Turkey

Jamal Khashoggi: The journalist and dissident was murdered in Turkey

Jamal Khashoggi: The journalist and dissident was murdered in Turkey

Five Saudi Arabian officials face the death penalty for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was dismembered inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

However, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - the nation's de facto ruler - was not involved, the kingdom's prosecutor said yesterday.

The announcement follows growing international outcry over the killing of Mr Khashoggi, the 'Washington Post' columnist and critic of the Saudi rulers who was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage.

Mr Khashoggi died after being drugged and then dismembered, a spokesman for the public prosecutor's office said in the country's first confirmation of how he was killed.

Agent

The journalist's body parts were then handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds.

And the spokesman denied Crown Prince Mohammed had any knowledge of the murder.

The deputy chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence, General Ahmed al-Assiri, gave the order to repatriate Mr Khashoggi - and "the head of the negotiating team" that flew to the Istanbul consulate had ordered his murder, the spokesman said.

After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted in mid-October that Mr Khashoggi had been murdered at the compound, but blamed it on a "rogue" operation.

The prosecutor has requested the death penalty for the five who "are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals", said an official statement released by state news agency SPA.

It said a total of 21 individuals were in custody in connection with the killing, 11 of whom have been indicted with investigations to continue into the others.

Turkey had earlier called for an international investigation into the murder.

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Ankara has already shared voice recordings linked to the murder with a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, the United States and its Western allies.

Mr Khashoggi's killing has plunged the world's top oil exporter into its worst diplomatic crisis since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, in which most of the hijackers were identified as Saudi nationals.

After first insisting Mr Khashoggi had left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities said he was killed in an argument that degenerated into a brawl before finally accepting what Turkey had said virtually from the start - that he was killed in a premeditated hit.

Murder

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to murder Mr Khashoggi came from "the highest levels" of the Saudi government.

The global fallout over the murder has tainted the image of 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed despite persistent Saudi denials that he was involved.

Mr Khashoggi's murder has also led to increased scrutiny of Saudi Arabia's role in the Yemen war, a conflict which has pushed the impoverished country on the southern coast of the Arabian peninsula to the brink of famine.

The journalist went into self-imposed exile in the United States in 2017 after falling out with Crown Prince Mohammed.


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